|Navigation: RuneScape Wiki >> Scribbles & Sketches >> Q&As >> Q&A:Game Engine Answers|
|Blog written by Mod Chris E on 13th April 2012|
|Mod Chris E, Mod Phillip and Mod Michael from the Game Engine team answer your questions.|
Kitsune Elly asks: I understand that you help make the game more exciting :3 I have just one question for you:
Can we expect to see graphical cosmetic items such as Nekomimi cat ears, Anime fox ears/tails or angelic/demonic wings to equip onto our characters for roleplaying purposes in the near future?
Mod Chris E: I'm not sure I'd go that far!
I know we're continuously updating the cosmetic items available in game, but I don't know about specifics coming up this year, sorry.
Mod Chris E: Chat history is lost because we don't want to risk giving your private chat history to someone else atfer you logout. We can alter this for instance world transfers and lobby-game transfers however, you make a good point.
PIN entry is a little fiddlier as it's content and that's harder to preserve across sessions, sorry.
The Guy 7 asks: Would you be able to give an explanation as to why untradable items can not be noted? We've been told it's due to technical reasons, but I'm very curious about what they are specifically (and perhaps how difficult they would be to overcome). If the answer is too complicated I'd be happy with some sort of analogy :).
Mod Phillip: Sure - at the moment all tradable items get noted version generated automatically, but untradable ones don't. In fact, we are have already changed this in our development version so that all items can be noted, so you may well see this one in an update in the near future :)
Ivan Strife asks:
Mod Chris E:
Robo Hobo asks: Mod Philip/Chris E/Michael, or whomever this may apply to,
Is there any progress on fixing the animation delays that some players have been experiencing for the past 6+ months? Similar animation delay to the Zombie hand emote that was specifically fixed some time ago, there are other cases like that but which are still in the game, however less common for users.
The most prominent case of the issue is with the Warped Gulega Dungeoneering boss, it's special attack's animation is delayed so much that... It hits you before the animation for it displays... >.<
It's a spec that takes all but 1 LP away if you don't dodge it... I think it'd be important to get that fixed right away, but it's been there for so long O_o
It happens with a lot of Dungeoneering bosses now that I think about it. I've tried all graphics options, manual settings and all, but still see it, others I know experience it as well, but a lot don't.
Do people at JaGeX acknowledge this animation delay in many things? Perhaps due to it's scarcity in players that experience them it hasn't been noticed, that's another reason I'm asking this question. I've sent bug reports on it, but to no avail....
Mod Chris E: I'm not aware of any engine issues which would cause this - if your game is otherwise quick to respond then it implies a scripting issue with the content, but I can't say for sure without testing and feedback from the developers. If you've already submitted a bug report (which I suspect you may have), then please hold tight - we will get to it eventually!
Im Caroline asks: I'm sure you're going to be spammed with questions like these tonight, but what is the status of Optimus and the second (and final?) bot nuke? As an avid runecrafter (you know, going to the altars and crafting nats/astrals/deaths/bloods), it is a primary source of income and, as expected, bots have obliterated the profits from this once again. Can we expect it anytime soon? My profits depend on it ;_;...
Mod Phillip: I can't say too much about the release date, as we don't want to tell the botters too much about how we are getting on. However, I can tell you that we are working on it at the moment, and we are hoping to be able to get rid of the bots again in the near future, and keep on kicking them while they are down, so that they can't get up again... :P
Optimus should help us to do this, as should some other things we are working on (it is not by any means the only trick up our sleeves). Watch this space... (sorry I can't tell you more).
Nemokins asks: Hi Engine team :)
Alrighty so I have a few questions for you guys, first the ones everyone are dying to know:
And my own personal questions:
Mod Chris E:
Mod Chris E:
Ivan Strife asks: Will we ever see tweaks to Clan Chat so that players that wish to turn they're chat off from time to time won't appear as logged into the Clan Chat while sitting in the lobby?
I ask this since It's already possible to exit a Clan Chat while in game what if anything is currently hindering the ability to do so in the lobby?
Mod Micheal: That's certainly something we could look at! :)
i Zaros asks:
Hello mods of the GE and CM-teams,
If you can't answer a question please ask the other mods doing the Q&A to take a look.
So I heard the “bot nuke” didn't kill the bots permanently, are there any plans to permanently get rid of them?
If the next nuke will be permanent why all the secrecy? If it will disable bots there is nothing they can do to fix it right? So there would be no harm in letting the community know some details.
I won't bother you with the SoF, there are 9001 other people who want to rant about that so I won't waste my post space with that.
What's up with locking bot threads in the general forum? Shouldn't we encourage people to talk about issues like this instead of hiding it in the least active forum? Yes I'm looking at you “Other - Discussion & Suggestions*
What can you tell us about IVP, and in which way do they affect runescape's updates?
Why did Runescape's updates change so much? What happened to stuff we have all been waiting for like more metal dragons, more dragon equipment etc. Runescape is getting more and more updates that introduce new content and lore to the game instead of focusing on finishing and expanding existing content.
Why didn't you keep the old armor graphics? It would be really easy to make everyone happy and add an NCP that can trade you armor, much like how legs and skirts worked in Classic. For example to get the old graphics of a Rune med helmet you'd trade it for a Rune med helmet (old), it would have the same stats but the old graphics and it would be untradeable.
Thanks for answering the questions ;)
I will leave you with a quote:
"We don’t want players to be able to buy their way to success in RuneScape. If we let players start doing this, it devalues RuneScape for others. We feel your status in real-life shouldn’t affect your ability to be successful in RuneScape."
Mod Phillip: We are certainly planning on getting rid of the bots in the game. The reason for the secrecy is that we don't want to give them too much info about how we are going to get rid of them. Making the removal permanent is going to be an ongoing challenge. We expect to be constantly adding more and more blocks in the way of the bot writers, so that they have to spend more and more effort to get around this.
I'll leave the rest of your questions for CM :)
Kasc asks: To Engine Team:
SlayZel asks: What is the reason why there is a delay when hopping between worlds? Is it because of the games coding or is it just to give other players a chance to join the world?
Mod Chris E: It was originally in place to reduce rare resource farming (eg. rune rocks).
Wuggy James asks: Why is there a bank space limit? Is it due to server space?
Mod Chris E: Yes, simple as that. Every (Stack of) item you have uses 6 bytes of server space, so do the maths!
Collin892 asks: In your opinion, what was most challenging for you while coding the core system for the Grand Exchange, if any at all? You did an excellent job on the Grand Exchange, and both the old and new Clan Chats. Thank you for all you have done and will do.
Mod Michael: That's a good question. It's been quite some time since I originally worked on the GE, and I have a lot of good memories about it! :) There were many challenges along the way in getting it from design to launch, but I think the most challenging aspect was writing a core system capable of dealing with such a massive number of trades. When we first launched the GE, it was dealing with millions of exchanges an hour - that's a lot of processing! I was very pleased with the code I came up with to handle that!
To this day the Grand Exchange is the feature I feel most proud of and so privileged to have built from the ground up with such awesome content developers. I'm glad it's been so useful for so many people.
Mod Chris E:
Lord Gavo asks: Sorry if its slighty off-topic, but its related to the Game Engine ;).
In regards to the game engine, my question is directed at specific areas within the game. My two main areas are Edgeville and the Gnome Stronghold. I know I am not the only one who has noticed it, but the enormous lag from these two areas makes playing within them sometimes almost impossible, if you do not get disconnected from the game.
Might I inquire as to why these two areas, and sometimes the citadel disconnect or kick players from the game, and is there any possible short or long terms fixes being created or are about to be implemented to solve this issue? Also, does this issue directly relate to the extremely poor frames per second issue, or is that an entire different category ?
Mod Chris E: Yes, we know those areas have problems. A lot of this is down to the new graphics assets that are created for them and some of it is down to the Cluster Flutterer eating performance. We're working with the QA teams to get some better guidelines for what are acceptable asset performance so we hope to reduce these problems in the future.
Agile Sam asks:
Agile Sam asks:
What measures have been taken since the officially announced “Bot Nuke” against botting? I have noticed significant drops on my highscore ranks specifically on March 1st, March 15th, and March 27th for no exp gain, and assume that those were days on which large anti-bot actions were taken. I appreciate the fact that you understand that bots are still around, which is apparent if you’ve recently teleported to the Sorceress’s Garden with your broomstick. Do you foresee a time in the near future when botting itself will be rendered near impossible and ALL botters banned, or will it continue to be a kind of 1-by-1 hunt to find the abusers? I understand you can’t talk specifics about the game engine’s functioning concerning botting, I just want to know if you have a real reason to believe that botting can be done with entirely at some point.
Mod Phillip: We are working hard to try and come up with an arsenal to throw at the bot makers, so that we can take them out. Any battle to defeat the botters is going to be an ongoing one. The bot makers make too much money out of it for them to give up easily, so we are going to have to keep on throwing change after change at them to keep them guessing. That should mean we get rid of the worst bots completely.
This is not our only line of attack. We are working on several different things that should help to get rid of botters, and should tidy up any we miss with our major updates.
I think it is not unreasonable to say that we are going to get rid of all of the botters. We are not afraid of a challenge, and if we put our minds to it, I am sure we can beat them :)
Mod Chris E:
Agile Sam asks: Every so often while I play, my screen goes all white and I have to refresh the page for the game to work again. What is the problem, and can it be fixed? (I know it's not a problem with my machine, I've seen it do this on a few different computers)
Mod Chris E: Sounds like an out of memory issue - check your Java console for the exact error and send in a bug report please!
Sithaph asks: What was it about the Botnuke in October that caused the FPS lag? Have you identified the cause of it yet, and how do you intend to fix it? How soon can we expect a fix?
Mod Chris E: Our obfuscation software inevitably introduces inefficiency into the client code base. Optimus will improve this.
ThatFoxGuy asks: Does the Runescape currently take full advantage of computers with multi core processors? And if not, are there any restrictions preventing you doing so?
And do you have any plans to use OpenCL (or similar software such as CUDA) in the future?
Mod Chris E: No, yes, and see previous answer about the RT5 architecture. Not enough people have decent OpenCL support to make it worthwhile yet, sorry!
Lor StarWise asks: As a retired programmer with decades of realtime experience, it seems to me that the high rates of lag and CPU usage are almost certainly due to a defect in the user end of the game engine code. It appears to be a bad model of polling for transaction events.
I have noted 98% of my CPU cycles being used by either of the Jagex client or Firefox in the game, when the game is relatively idle. Yesterday, the Jagex client was consuming 42% of the CPU cycles from the lobby, while not in a world! What are you doing to analyze and reduce this lag?
Mod Chris E: See previous answers about obfuscation and the cluster flutterer, and Optimus. We don't program to be slow - but it's an unfortunate side effect of having to protect our software from cheaters.
Void Adept asks: My questions for the team:
Mod Chris E:
Rook asks: The Great Orb Project activity utilizes a player's knowledge of angles around the altar to score orbs as fast they can. Unfortunately the last game engine update affected the consistency of angles around the altar (Runetek5?). The angles which were consistent all around the altar now do not behave this way. The lack of consistency around the altars means it takes new players longer to "learn" the game or they might even give up because the game doesn't make sense to them.
Can this be fixed or is this simply the cost of using a new game engine?
Mod Michael: We actually look at fixes regarding angles in the game to make them more consistent - so if something in-game has become less predictable/consistent, we'd certainly be interested to know. Best thing to do is submit a bug report so our QA guys can have a play with it, and then we can work with them to see what could be going wrong. :)
Mod Chris E:
Sithaph asks: What was it about the Botnuke in October that caused the FPS lag? Have you identified the cause of it yet, and how do you intend to fix it? How soon can we expect a fix?
These questions were bound to be asked, so I figured I'd be first to do so!
Mod Phillip: We introduced some obfuscation that made it much harder for the bot makers to analyse our code. This had the unfortunate side-effect of making everything that happens in the game very slightly slower. Sadly, the graphics engine is a bit inefficient for historical reasons*, and so the slight decrease in performance was amplified in the graphics engine.
We are working on some different changes to the obfuscation that shouldn't have the same slowdown, but should still have the same effect on the botters. The reason we have left it in so far is that it gives a high entry-cost for people starting to write a new bot, making it harder for anyone other than the people who already have a working bot to write one.
* The graphics engine was originally written to work purely in software (the 'safe mode'), and it wasn't really designed for working with OpenGL and DirectX from the ground up. Grafting these in has made things a lot nicer graphically, but has not given us the performance improvements you would expect from moving to hardware graphics. For the technically minded, there are a lot of JNI calls to render a frame (which are expensive), and the batching is not very good (along with a few other problems...) :)
Weesliske asks: With a lot of things having been done in quests and other content already do you try to make new mechanics etc available fairly often or do you wait for a request before trying to enable something?
Mod Chris E: Normally we respond to requests from the content teams, however sometimes we drive the ideas, but these tend to be bigger projects that provide massive content upgrades (skills etc).
Mod Chris E:
Naughty Owls asks: Do you believe that bots can ever be completely removed from the game?
Mod Chris E: No*
* But we can make it so hard for them that it's no-longer worth it.
Bloodbeast24 asks: hello nice to meet you all i woke up 4 hours early for this!!! i have a multiple questions actually so i was wondering if i can just post them all together or do i have to do them one at a time or is there a liimit to questions and also if insult is taken i mean none i just have questions from through out the forums and if you cant answer a question can you explain why? (i believe i have 17 so far added up since i heard of this Q&A)
Mod Philip: We don't mind how you post them - post quick though, we might not get to the end of the thread... :P We might not have enough time to answer them all, or to say why we can't, but we'll do our best
Moerdred asks: Going to start off with the most obvious and to be expected question.
Mod Chris E: - Maths maths and more maths. Also, did I mention, maths? Also some algorithms, data structures and databases help. Also maths. Going back in time...I would take more maths & graphics courses at university :) - Not at the moment - It's added, but disabled. It's not up to release standard yet, sorry. - Client tokens come under the same banner as the cluster flutterer, not ideal but necessary cheat deterrent. In fact, the client tokens are one of the most effective deterrents against botting we have at the moment.
It looks like it's going to be a fun night. I hope we all enjoy it.
Mod Chris E:
Mod Phillip: The major cause of the FPS issues was part of the anti-bot work we did for the bot nuke. We are hoping to be able to remove this, and replace it with something more efficient in the near future. We haven't forgotten about this issue - we are working on it, but it is difficult to balance between defeating the bots, and making sure the performance of the game is acceptable. Lots of bots work by trying to find 'hooks' in to our code where they can (for example) find out about an NPC or a rock that they want to mine, etc. This change was part of an effort to make it more difficult for them to find the places to hook into in the first place.
We don't really enjoy telling you really non-specific things, but sadly we don't want to give too much info to the bot makers :(
The best part about being a game engine developer is being able to make the crazy ideas that the content teams come up with come to life.
I am not sure what the biggest error I have ever caused was, but some highlights are:
Going4Quests asks: Mod Chris E,
Mod Chris E:
Im Kerrigan asks: Has there been an FPS fix recently? I know that a lot of the players are still complaining about low FPS, but I noticed a significant increase in my own recently. Additionally, the game seems to run muuuuch better when the numbers of players online are lower, which is near impossible with bots running around obliterating profits for players.
Mod Chris E: We have made improvements over the last month or two, but we're not done yet.
Purus Feles asks: Mod Nexus stated in the release post of the GE that this system can NOT be manipulated, only a few weeks after its release pyramid scams were created with use of both the GE and the clan idea to enable price manipulation.
Why has the GE NEVER been adjusted to prevent price manipulation once it was known that it could (and still can) be manipulated?
Mod Michael: I think it's fair to say is that no matter how many measures you put in place, there are always going to be complicated ways people can take advantage of a system. We have many safeguards in place that prevent outright, overt manipulation, but we can take these so far lest we risk making the Grand Exchange annoying to use for a lot of people! However, we have people who closely monitor the GE to look for more complicated activities, so we will always try to take action against individuals who are manipulating the prices.
Mod Chris E:
Ivan Strife asks: @ Any Engine Team mod - Will players ever be able to see when their account creations dates were?
I'm very curious to determine exactly when my account was created for nostalgia sake.
Mod Phillip: We have that information, and it is in a form that is easy for us to show to you. I don't really want to go into the reasons why we don't show it to you, but I'll bring it up and see if the reasons are still relevant for you (hope that sort of answers your question...)
1san asks: Currently there are 2 ongoing rumors to do with graphics. Hopefully you can sort this out and unravel the mystery.
Firstly if you go to the Runescape wikia(Not the one on the RS website), and type leaks in the search bar, you will see a picture of a person with headphones, and slightly above him on the wall there is a world map with an extended desert region. What is or was this? Has it been canned, or is it coming sometime soon?
Secondly, the Kudos island rumor. We’ve heard from Jmods that no new continent or giant land masses are planned until the current continent is up to “graphical standards” and more or less finished. What hasn’t been made clear is if that includes the elusive Kudos Island, witch we’ve been told is a massive project that will be about the size of Karamja. So will it be part of this continent or is the island on its own league altogether? Any other info on the island you’d like to throw in would be appreciated.
Mod Chris E: We can't comment on content updates, sorry!
Mod Chris E:
DOS Baanana asks: Is there anything that changes your accuracy and strenght other than what style you use and what armour/weapon you are using? I always thought that running at an opponent with a two handed sword would hit harder than just standing still.
Mod Phillip: I don't believe there is (but a content developer would be able to tell you for certain). Certainly running doesn't make any difference. That doesn't mean it is not going to in the future... ;)
HKALEsoldier asks: My computer even after I have tried a lot of those standard fix, still can't turn on lightbloom( can't switch to on) and DirectX crash immediately after I click the buttom
what takes so long to fix? Are you sure it is my side?
Mod Michael: There were also some kind of memory leak problem, even before the bot nuke, that the memory usage increase uncontrollably gradually, what do you think?"
I'm sorry to hear you're having problems. We're aware that some of our players still experience issues like these and I can assure you that we're doing everything we can to track these down and improve things so more and more players can experience RuneScape at its best! :) Hopefully we'll find out what's causing your problems soon and fix it.
Zayelion asks: Will we ever get close the avatar graphics in the recent "teaser?" if so are you guys working on them now?
Mod Chris E: I'd love to spend time improving the player kit system - lots of plans, just no time right now :(
How is the progress on the fps fixes and Optimus being so far?
Mod Phillip: I think I have mostly answered that in previous posts, but basically, pretty well, and we hope to be able to launch something soon. :)
Daniel156 asks: During huge PvP fights in the wilderness, there could be around 200 or more people on the battlefield at any given time, do you have any plans of fixing the lag and loading screens everyone has been experiencing and complaining about?
In clan wars 100v100 fights, everyone lags at the start. This should have something to do with the game engine not being able to properly handle this given amout of people in such little space. Are there any plans of fixing this?
Thank you for your time.
Mod Chris E: Hopefully Optimus will improve this, even though, we know we have work to do on large numbers of players. Top tip - turn off 'idle anims all'.
Wuggy James asks: Whens bot nuke number 2? Bots are seriously destroying the game...
Mod Phillip: Soon - can't really tell you more than that...
Skylamon asks: When can we hope to see runescape supporting dual and multicore cpus? Currently java supports it, but runescape has disabled it. Also, will runescape start using direct x 10 or 11 in near future with better fps managment. Currently fps is a big issue for lot of players.
Mod Chris E: Think I've answered this a bit already, but it's a structural problem with the age of the engine - a newer one will be designed with this in mind. (My current dev implementation nicely uses 6 threads...)
Stevie5646 asks: Everytime you use any type of teleport to go too Tree Gnome Stronghold. It suddenly stops at " Loading please wait 50% " and It does not load up for some players. Would this possibly get fixed ?
Thank you :)
Mod Chris E: This is due to the memory footprint of that area. We're working with the QA team to make sure this gets caught earlier next time.
Lord Gavo asks: In regards to the engine / coding itself, would it be hard to change the code for the bank PIN option.
Instead of when you scroll your mouse of a particular number and only one number disappearing, how much code would be involved [roughly] to make all the numbers disappear upon scrolling your mouse over 'any' number? This would be a great feature in helping fight against hijackers using key-loggers ?
Mod Chris E: We have much bigger plans for account security - keep your eyes out for these in the future.
Mess up asks: Are you still going to update the engine to allow us to move around by using WASD keys?
Mod Michael: We explored this possibility a while back and the results were promising - the conclusion we came to was that it would be a very large and ambitious project! While there aren't any plans to do this just now, it's certainly something we're considering for the future.
Darcro aks: I have quite a simple question that will probably be asked a lot.
Is Optimus anywhere near being ready for release and if so, when will it be released? I have heard rumours about Jagex and IVP concerning bots and I am still waiting for Jagex to prove them wrong. I hope to see Optimus soon and for bot-busting to continue in the future.
Please be honest as a lot of people involved with Jagex have, when asked, given very vague answers, dancing around the subject, trying their best not to say anything that may actually be a decent answer.
Just for once, please, be straight with us.
EDIT: Having been reminded by a number of posts, I would also like to voice my concern with fps issues and I would like to know when this will be dealt with.
Mod Phillip: You're right, it has been asked a lot :)
It is near to being ready for release. I can't tell you an exact release date, but it will be soon. Bot busting will certainly continue in the future. We see it as an ongoing issue that is high on our list of priorities. Rest assured, it is being worked on, and we are putting effort into it.
The FPS concerns are mostly rather related to the anti-bot work we have done. We hope that the Optimus changes will mitigate this somewhat.
I can tell you catagorically that the frame rate is not as much of a problem as it was in October. It has improved significantly, but it has happened so gradually that it hasn't received much attention. We still think the frame rate is pretty terrible, and it is our number one priority to try and fix this.
Mod Chris E:
Salubrious asks: This is more trivial, but if you could add any piece of content, what would it be?
Mod Chris E: I'd love some more Elf quests!
Going4Quests asks: Is it possible to add a weather system to Runescape? If it is hard to balance it could be fully cosmetic, but it would be awesome to have.
Mod Chris E: It certainly is, as to whether we will, we don't have any plans at the moment.
Daniel156 asks: Do you feel that the account recovery system is too easy for third parties to abuse the system by stealing other player's accounts?
Will there be any future changes towards how easy it is to recover an account?
Mod Chris E: As I mentioned earlier, we have a number of plans to improve account security in the pipeline.
Going4Quests asks: Mod Chris E,
When i use Facebook to login into the game it is a true nightmare to hop between instances like the citadel for example. All the time a new request has to be sended all the time between the server and Facebook. Could you take a look at this?
Mod Phillip: I'll pretend to be Mod Chris E for a moment... :P
I was not aware of this issue, but it does sound a bit nasty. I will take a look at it on Monday, and hopefully we should be able to fix it (I think I know where the problem is, just from hearing your description, so we should be able to fix it for the next update, or maybe the one after if not).
Thanks for your help ;)
Mod Chris E:
Complication asks: I have a top-of-the-line computer with the most highly-acclaimed graphics card I could find.
I still cannot run RuneScape on any decent settings without terrible FPS issues.
Is the issue still being resolved? I heard it was mostly fixed, yet I see no improvement.
Mod Chris E: Yes: Optimus, soon.
Trevorghost asks: Will RuneScape ever see support for multiple cores, especially with them becoming more prevalent?
Mod Michael: We're actively looking at this with several improvements to take advantage of multi-core CPUs - when we're happy that the code we've added is stable enough, we'll look at rolling it out. :)
a Bambu asks: The new water looks like a disaster in narrow areas like rivers. Are you going to do anything about it or are you going to make a special water effect just for rivers such as water streaming down the river? ;)
Mod Chris E: I have plans for the water system, but they're very preliminary at the moment.
Earthleakage asks: do you think 6 months of lagging due to your programming incompetance is acceptable?
Mod Phillip: As one of the people who wrote it, I really don't think it is acceptable. However, it was a trade off between fighting the botters and introducing lag, and leaving the botters in the game and ruining the experience in another way. This did keep the botters out for a good 4 or 5 months, so I think it was worth it.
We have been working hard to remove the lag, and defeat the botters, but these two things are intrinsically linked.
Mod Chris E:
GSiX asks: Have you considered producing runescape on a CD that can be installed to your computer? This would make great improvements to graphics and FPS and would probably extend what you can do with this game far beyond what a browser based game can do. The graphics at the moment I would say are far behind modern day games that are installed, even if you can improve the FPS I think that it will never be fast on max with many people around you (ie at the GE). This is because browsers are simply not designed for great graphics. As well as development for CD what about consoles?
Mod Chris E: The downloading of the content doesn't really have any bearing on your frame rate. It does impact the amount of vertices models can have or the detail of textures, but we're improving these all the time as download speeds improve. (Infact your game is almost 100% loaded from your disk most days anyway)
Zayelion asks: who decides what you guys focus your energy on?
Mod Chris E: Good question! A mixture of us, the content teams and senior management. We then have a fight every two weeks in our planning meetings until one person is left standing.
Salubrious asks: Mod Philip,
What is your ultimate update goal at the moment?
Mod Phillip: My ultimate update goal is to get rid of all of the bots, and have excellent frame rates for everyone! I would rather that we didn't have to spend time on fighting the bots. If botters didn't exist, we wouldn't have to do things that hurt the frame rate, and we would be able to spend time writing more awesome game features.
I would rather be spending time writing game-play features that make RuneScape more fun for everyone, but the botters have other ideas about how a lot of our time is spent :(
Mr Pontius asks: Bank space is something you seem reluctant to increase. I hear the reason is because of the increasing size of the game save file for each player. If each bank space is represented by two 32 bit numbers (item ID and stack number) and there are probably less than 40k item IDs in use, why not reduce the space allocation for the item ID variable and increase the amount of bank space we can have.
Mod Chris E: Actually we use a 16bit and 32it number, but close enough - recently we went over 16bits for location and models IDs :(
Are any of you lot going to RuneFest?
Do any of you know or have an idea where and whenabouts it could be?
Mod Phillip: I am afraid I don't know anything about the planning for RuneFest (and none of the Game Engine team do). I went to the last one though, and really enjoyed meeting some really awesome players.
I would certainly go out of my way to attend RuneFest again, as it was an excellent experience. :)
Wingman Rex asks: Will there be more equipment with particle effects in the future? I LOVE the Goliath, Spellcaster and Swift gloves' particle effects! It would be nice if there were some more pieces of equipment with partcle effects ;)
Mod Chris E: Almost certainly, yes.
Rodsay asks: Is it planned to use the 'everyone can see' chat facility of Dungeoneering in the Citadels? I wondered why it was not implemented initially because the structure must be there already.
Mod Michael: That's actually quite a cool idea - the engine will support instance-wide chat for any instance-based content, so there's no reason we couldn't do this in Citadels. Best to suggest this to the content team as they'd need to add it, but I'll pass it along nonetheless. :)
Going4Quests asks: Is it possible that if a mage cast a spell, or some missiles are being fired/launched but you run away they get stopped by obstacles like walls instead of flying through them?
Mod Chris E: Certainly possible with future upgrades.
Ming N Excal asks:
Mod Chris E:
ep ofc asks:
Mod Chris E:
Kitsune Elly asks: Could we expect to see day to night transitions on RuneScape one day?
Mod Chris E: We already have this a little, but it may be expanded upon in the future.
Ivan Strife asks: Any possibility players may ever be able to see what they're account ID number is in the system?
I think some players would be curious to know what number out of the vast majority their account is. :P Again not really a pressing question.
Mod Chris E: For historic reasons we don't have incrementing account IDs. For players with username logins, these names are hashed into the account ID, for email login players we auto generate a random one.
My Name Owns asks: Recently there was a post on the HLF with a great suggestion concerning the Runescape Downloadable Game-Client.
Updating it to such as a Highscores, the Runescape Wiki, Voice-Chat, Screenshots Taker/Uploaded.
Similar to the add-on's Swiftkit provides, are there any plans on an update to the Game-Client to be updated with any of the above or more?
Mod Chris E: Speaking personally, the downloadable client is a royal pain to update (we have to recompile the entire JVM, class libraries and such like). Whilst we haven't ruled out updates to it, I suspect it's morel likely you will see these as web site features instead.
Doctor Karma asks: My primary concern about the recent Squeal of Fortune update concerns the real-life threats we face with regard to account security. If my account is stolen without my knowledge while I am a subscribing member, then $200 per day can literally be stolen from my credit card by an unknown internet user buying SoF tickets! I am well-educated in the field of account security, but for the the benefit of others, will you consider adding a credit card verification requirement in order to buy SoF tickets?
Mod Chris E: We've already implemented this :)
Purus Feles asks: To whoever can explain this.
Many people "flame" fellow players who complain about the fps problems.
The most common is that those who complain are told that they have crappy computers and should buy new stuff etc.
But...unless I misread (in tech support)...I read something about the game-engine being part of the problem and that there appears to be a (fps) problem with RS running on (some) computer(s) with more then 1 processor.
Can this whole fps problem be explained in complete honesty and in such a way that its clear for the "dumbies" as well?
(perhaps by creating a "fps problem explanation guide for dumbies" thread...as we are not all "computer specialists";)
Mod Phillip: There are several things that add up to cause the frame rate issues. The underlying issue is historical. When RuneScape was first written (before HD), it was a purely software based graphics engine. That means that all of the work was done on your CPU, rather than on your graphics card. This is good in some ways and bad in others. It meant that RuneScape would run (slowly) on any computer, regardless of what graphics hardware you have. It did however mean that the graphics were a bit rubbish.
When HD was introduced, we moved to having 4 ways to render the graphics: - Pure Java (now called Safe Mode). This is the slowest way to see the game (I can't really emphasise this enough, as people seem to think it is faster), but it will always work, if the other methods don't work for you. You should never need to choose this, which is why there is no button for it in the graphics options
- Software mode. This also does not use the graphics card, but it works by running some native code (i.e. not Java) written a mixture of C++, assembly and intrinsics in order to provide an experience that is faster that safe mode, but also does not need any particular graphics drivers to be installed. This is generally the best way to play on netbooks, and other low-end devices
- OpenGL and DirectX. These two are the hardware modes, and are generally the best way to play RuneScape. However, the problem that exists with this is that the software mode was written first. When writing graphics code to run on graphics cards, you have to write it in a very different way to how you would write it to have a software rasteriser. As our hardware modes are grafted into the existing engine, they are not quite so efficient as they might be. When we obfuscate this code, any slowdown this causes is magnified, which has caused the slowdown since the bot update. The underlying issue is difficult for us to solve, but it is certainly something we keep on coming up with ideas to deal with, and we have plans that should mitigate this to some degree. The anti-botting issue I think I have covered fairly thoroughly elsewhere.
Spirit 0f RS asks:
Mod Chris E:
Cpt Shortbow asks: Currently when a new account is made, it gets 2 weeks of member
Which is fine, i perfectly understand trying to get more people to get membership, but on every world theres autotalkers now on throw-away accounts, will this problem ever be solved?
Mod Chris E: Yes - we have further updates planned to tackle chat spammers,
Kill Kingx asks: The new(ish) areas of Darkmeyer and Taverthrope seem to cause me and quite a few others slight FPS issues, but the updated Tzhaar city runs perfectly smooth. Did you guys do anything different when developing Tzhaar city as opposed to Taverthrope or Darkmeyer? and if so can you apply that to those areas to help alleviate the FPS issues?
Mod Chris E: It's partly due to the quantity of animations in the area. I don't know about the Tzhaar area in particular, but I do know DarkMeyer and the new Taverely suffer from too many animations.
A Thorondor asks: How does the game process/deal with text?
Apparently it is really difficult to enable the typing of most notably the character ^ on certain languages and keyboard settings (lots of Dutch users for instance are unable to enter the character and end up with a blank space). It has been complained about and been sent bug-reports about for years, but was never fixed, so I assume it's difficult to do. So now I just wonder: why?
I also tried to send ascii codes to the game, but somehow this ended up cycling through ^ and the Yen sign and some others. Any clue how that could happen? Sorry if that doesn't make sense, I don't understand it myself, lol.
Mod Chris E: Text in game only supports the characters in our our font system - mainly the lower 128 ASCII characters - this is because we use old fashioned bitmap fonts - something I wish to improve!
Brian Cox asks: Will you ever be able to remove the 200m XP cap in skills as someone is very close to "completing" the game for the firs time in RuneScape's history?
Mod Chris E: There's no technical reason we couldn't however I suspect the content team would hit us if we did!
X Fido X asks:
To Mod Philip:
Would you consider using stuff like the instance shards for the clan citadel in other big projects in the future. Also if possible to answer, how long did it take to create those instance shards.
Mod Phillip: Certainly we would! In fact we have started moving over some minigames to it (Tzhaar Pits spring to mind as one that has already been done). I know that content are working on this, and have some other stuff that will be using this in the future.
I think the instance shards took a few weeks to write. Most of which was spent integrating it into the scripting engine, and working through the issues that the content team came up with as to how they wanted me to change things to make it easier to use, and a better experience for both the content team to write things, and to add more features so that they can provide you with some awesome stuff. Much of this has not yet been used, but there is functionality in there for creating minigame lobbies, giving you choices of games to play and telling you how many people are playing, and how far through the game they are, who is winning, etc., etc.
I hope that gradually more and more things use the instance shard system, as it has the potential to provide some truly excellent content to you :)
MissMorphine asks: Oh, and, do you ever plan to add VOIP to the game? You had a poll on it once that made me hope you would. It would be immensely useful while bossing, doing dungeons, etc.
Mod Michael: It's definitely something we want to do, but we don't have a set date for it just yet - sorry. :)
Il Lex lI asks: hay i have some questions
Mod Chris E:
Gbsguitarboy asks: do you know when all the skyboxes will be completed?
Mod Chris E: Good question, and simply, when the graphics team have time (Also it will help when we have a higher draw distance)
Fenniix asks: Hi. I only have one question and i hope you can help me with this. Since the bot nuke day i cant log in most of the worlds , firs i was getting the message " runescape has been updated , please reload the page" and now i get the message " client token failure" the only way that i can log in in most of the world is by typing this link " world"the world number that i want to log in to".runescape.***" and than if i want to change the world i need to do that all over again. So please if u could help me with this i would be thankful.
Mod Chris E: Are you on some kind of intermittent wireless connection? RuneScape requires a stable connection to play - connections that shift IPs will have problems like you describe.
Rach 72 asks:
RE: cant enter citadel with low bandwidth connection
Sometimes i use a 3g connection to play runescape, Obviously this connection is slow and i prefer my broadband, However, my broadband has been down now for 5 weeks and will be back in a couple weeks, However, While playing using 3g i am completly unable to enter my clans citadel when trying to enter portal i get connection lost please wait, connection then comes back within 5 seconds but with a message in my chat window saying, "error entering citadel client token faliure please try again later" I also then get logged out after 3 attempts and have to reload my game to log on This is a shame as i have missed our clans tier 7 party and have been unable to contribute.
So why can i not enter citadel on 3g, im not moaning merely interested in why this is
Mod Phillip: As part of the measures to try and make it harder for bot makers, we added something that locks the client you are playing with to a particular IP address (amongst other things). 3g connections tend to be a bit flaky when it comes to IP addresses, so when you connected to a different world, your IP address was different to what it was when you logged in before, and so you get rejected. Sadly, this is one of our key anti-bot measures, so we don't plan to change this.
Hope that helps to answer your question, at least partially.
With bots being a problem in the skills mining, slayer and hunter specifically due to the way the resources work do you think more could be done to improve our ability to train those skills while high numbers of botters are around?
Mod Chris E: Hopefully we can remove the botters for you instead :)
Il Lex lI asks: whats that "safe mode" good for?
i mean its horrible slow and almost all(?) or all injection bots use this mode. would it change something about the bots if the mode is gone?
Mod Michael: Safe Mode is the last resort if we can't get you into OpenGL, DirectX or Software mode, as it is guaranteed to be compatible with every machine capable of drawing graphics - so there's a good reason to have it. If we got rid of it, all the bots would just switch to using one of the other graphics modes anyway. :)
Fyre Pixel asks: My question goes out to Mod Chris:- Hey Chris, could you tell us any details or secret titbits about the development of Prifddinas? I am a major fan of the elves and sometimes I feel they get left out a little. Will we be seeing a huge elf update any time soon?
Mod Chris E: Only that I too wish it would be completed already!
Titus Grey asks: Cake or pie?
Mod Chris E: Cake, lots of.
Bots, unfortunately, have slowly been returning to RuneScape. Can we expect another BotNuke to take care of the color-scraper bots that have been continuing to plague this game?
Mod Phillip: Our main target with the bot nuke was reflection/injection bots. We have already made some changes to make colour-scraper bots more unreliable. They tend to be a bit rubbish anyway. We have more plans to deal with them. They will probably come a little while after the Optimus changes, as they are rather a different class of bot to deal with.
Rambo Starr asks:
Mod Chris E:
Mod Chris E:
Wuggy James asks: This is a bit of topic but why doesn't a J-Mod just go to green dragons on a few worlds and ban the bots? This would take 10minutes max and you'd be able to ban 200+ bots atleast...
Mod Chris E: Because they'd be back in 5 minutes. We have better plans up our sleeves :)
Nabu Rimanni asks: Concerning bot detection and action on reported bots.
Mod Chris E:
Hi Game Engine team :)
I'm one of those strange "Mac Users"... 2 questions if I may?
Thanks in advance, Rooh.
Mod Phillip: I am the only developer in any team of Jagex who uses a Mac at work :)
I have to say that I like some things, and don't like others. I like that it is a proper POSIX-y system, so I get a nice terminal without having to deal with cygwin. Not really a fan of the pretty stuff though...
We will continue to support Macs for the forseeable future. In fact, the reason I use a Mac is so that I have a good incentive to make sure that the game runs well on them! We know there are currently a few issues, but they are in our todo list to look at.
Hopefully OpenJDK will soon be avaiable for the Mac, and we'll be able to package up a downloadable client, like we do for Windows, so if and when Apple stop supporting Java, we'll still be able to run RuneScape on it. :)
Cpt Shortbow asks:
Mod Chris E:
Mod Chris E:
DragonUp14 asks: Sometimes when i log out and then try logging back in, it says i'm already logged in.. And then I can't log back in for the next 30 mins-1 hour... It's so annoying especially when you're dunging and get disconnected.. Are you guys aware of this? And if you are, when can we expect you to fix it?
Mod Michael: From time to time our game worlds have trouble talking to our core systems which deal with saving your progress - very occasionally it's our fault, but most of the time it's simply problems on the internet where one ISP isn't able to talk to another. When this happens, we have to hold on to your save game at our game worlds until we're aboslutely sure we've been able to save it. That doesn't mean you're still logged in - but we can't log you in again until we're sure we've got your save game where it needs to be. Above all else the most important thing to us is making sure everything you do in RuneScape is saved securely.
We'd absolutely love it if the whole internet worked 100% of the time and we didn't have this problem, but that's not likely to happen. ;)
Mod Chris E:
Will the delay eventually be removed or decreased more? I find myself waiting to chance worlds quite often, and it is getting annoying. If removing it is now an option, is there any chance of it getting reduced to maybe 10 or 15 seconds compared to the 26 sec (I think :) ) we have now?
Mod Chris E: Maybe, but we don't have any immediate plans to do so.
Ivan Strife asks: Sometimes when opening my world map and closing it I will be kicked back into Safe Mode. Whenever this happens Safe Mode seems to run incredibly slow. Is there any reason why Safe Mode would run so slow compared to the higher end graphics in this situation?
I have a fairly decent gaming machine built and this one still boggles my mind. Generally I get 40-50fps doing anything in runescape with all detail settings on. However when I crash into Safe Mode my fps sometimes hits 5-10.
Mod Chris E: This is an out of memory error with the world map. We're aware of it and are working to improve the map soon!
Roxy Demon23 asks: Would it be possible to add voice chat to the game? If so, do you plan on doing so in the future?
Mod Chris E: Yes, and maybe.
Archel I asks:
I have a couple of questions:
Wuggy James asks: Another question, I reported a bit a week ago and it's still at green dragons everyday, why is it not banned? Are you really telling me someone in the normall bot gear would stay at green dragons for a week solid?
Mod Chris E: We know we haven't got this sorted yet. But we have spent the last few months designing and building new systems to tackle this from the ground up. More news soon.
Cpt Shortbow asks: Will it be possible to play runescape on a java-embedded client ( as in, the client goes outside the browser, so you can close the browser but keep playing rs )
Mod Michael: You can already do this - just grab our downloadable client by heading to the front page, hover your mouse over "Game Info" and click "Downloads", then look for the "Game Client" download near the top of the page that loads up. :)
i own u 4ev asks:
Mod Chris E:
Metallica 0 asks: I have been reporting a nature rune making bot everyday for the last month. It has 100m runecrafting exp and is ranked in the top 100 for rc, yet it only has a total level of 300. why does it not get banned...
Mod Chris E: We're working on it I promise. More news soon...
Lord Zenegog asks: How well would you say these specs will cope once the FPS issue is fixed? How well will RuneScape run with these specs?
Thank you. :)
Mod Chris E: Should be fine, however, we know there are some issues with ATI cards at the moment, so you might be better off with an nVidia card.
Quest Luke asks:
Charizards asks: Can we expect bot nuke #2 to be put into effect before the end of April? I hear two hidden updates this week (11th) and last (3rd) were to set Optimus up to be fully-implemented, or something of the like.
Thank you for the hard work and willingness to do Q&As like this!
Mod Chris E: I can't give specifics, but we're talking weeks rather than years here.
XpowergamerX asks: Wow! A lot of engine re-designs! Do you work on them when you have spare time at home? Could it be Runescape 3 with such a massive change?
Mod Chris E: Sometimes work we do is inspired by home projects, certainly. I don't know what we'd have to do to label it RS3, but I think we're a way from it yet :)
Follyhall II asks:
with whats in store, though members should get more benefits. But Im wondering if there will be new updates for f2p, Excepbut not trival updates like the lodestones that provide free transportation
or is it being ignored
will you be able to upkeep everyhting.
READ:I HAVE ASKED SO MANY QUESTIONS, BUT IM NOT ASKING SO MANY TO HOPE ONE WILL SHOW IN THE Q&A SESSION. I HAD MANY QUESTIONS THAT I WANTED TO ASK, BUT NEVER HAD MUCH OF AN OPORTUNITY TO DO SO.
Bageer asks: Is it possible to have construction rooms that take up more than one room of space but still count as one construction room in the room limit (and in the code)?
At high construction levels players tend to abandon above-ground houses for dungeon rooms, and I believe some of the resulting empty space would be less empty if a few current or new rooms were simply the size of 4 rooms instead of just one... if it is possible, I will prepare a suggestion thread with my ideas for some bigger-sized rooms.
Mod Chris E: As I understand it the POH script is not very update-friendly. I suspect doubling the size of rooms may be beyond it's scope, but I don't know it myself, so will prepare to be corrected by the content team!
Mod Phillip: Player owned houses are a bit tricky for content to add to. I expect this would be quite a big change for them, and it doesn't sound too likely that it would happen any time soon. Never say never though!
player 75642 asks:
Mod Chris E:
Vanroeyen asks: Is it possible to remove the tiles from the game or make them smaller so you actually move to the spot you clicked? and if so, are there any plans for this? :P
Mod Chris E: It's part of our very-distant plans, yes.
ThaMcDonut asks: What can we expect with the RuneTek 7 update? More detailed is hardly possible...
Mod Chris E: I don't think it's something you can expect - it's pure research at the moment, not sure where we will end up with it yet!
Big Buck asks:
Mod Chris E:
HikariKnight asks: my question is if the game gets ported or rewritten in another language than java will you make sure that the support for the 3 biggest platforms remain if a language needing compilation is used?
Mod Chris E: Definitely.
ThaMcDonut asks: Fansites always had a Server C S V (server list download)- is it possible to make it avaible for fansites, once again?
Mod Chris E: We don't have any plans for this right now, but it's something we could bring back if there is enough demand.
Rambo Starr asks: "Our obfuscation software inevitably introduces inefficiency into the client code base."
I have no idea what that means, but when you are done with the chat you have my permission to DELETE it. The bots are back in huge numbers, in case you didn't notice.
Mod Phillip: The reason we keep all of this stuff around is that it introduces a huge barrier to entry. If we removed it, there would be hundreds of different bot clients, rather than just a few, and then we would really be in trouble...
Mod Chris E:
Aldfrith asks: A lot of players are receiving PMs by advertising bots. These bots seem to copy players names from FCs, high population areas such as the GE or high scores then PM a large list of people within a matter of seconds. The names change so putting that account onto the ignore list does not work particularly well. Is there any future update (such as Optimus) which is likely to help with this problem?
Mod Phillip: Yes! We already introduced some stuff that pushed them into private chat. We have other plans that should hurt them, although we are mostly concentrating on the botters at the moment. We do have it on our plans though.
MissMorphine asks: And these are for whomever can answer on the tech team:
1san asks: What causes the Black screen to occur, and what can I do to fix it?
Mod Phillip: There are a few places where you could get a black screen. Sadly without any more information I can't really direct you to how to solve it :(
When can we expect to go back to tutorial island?
Will there be a new tutorial that teaches about scams and the basics of the game?
Mod Phillip: When I was at RuneFest, I remember that someone complained about missing tutorial island. I teleported there, and showed him that it is all still there in the game :P
I don't think there are any plans to put the tutorial back - the task system seemed to be a better way to educate new players. I think you'd have to ask content if you want more info (they'll be along shortly)
Heatley asks: When in lobby, your about to click and select a game world and log-in, then while its loading the world you can see friends chat tab flashing and you know someone from your friendlist just PM'd you but since you just logged in, your unable to see the message and who sent it. Are there any plans to make it happen so you can see the message after your online?
Mod Phillip: Hmm, that one would be a little tricky at the moment, due to how the system works. If we were to rewrite it from the ground up, it would certainly have that feature (i.e. you would see the last few lines of chat when you log in). I can't say that it is liable to happen any time in the near future though.
Awesomecious asks: (More of a feature than engine question) It's a nice feature that if you click the browser close button you get a warning to exit the game first. Can that feature be included on the RS Client? (The client shuts down completely with no warning. Several times I accidently hit the client close button which is a few millimeters above the map close button.)
Mod Phillip: That is a good idea! Next time we update the RS client, I'll try to include it (might be a little while before we do though) :)